4 Telltale Signs of ACL Injury

Aug 17, 2016

Inside your knee are ligaments that work together to provide stability. One of these ligaments is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). It is found in the middle of your knee. It prevents your shin bone from sliding out of place.


Most ACL injuries result from twisting, hyperextending, or pivoting the leg, all of which commonly occur in sports, such as football, basketball, soccer, tennis, and skiing. In sports, they often come as a non-contact injury that leads to strains and tears.


A sports physiotherapist can properly determine if you have, in fact, torn your ACL. But, a torn ligament can also show signs that you possibly may have an ACL injury. If you’re in pain or having the following symptoms, immediate medical attention is required.


Here are some telltale signs of a torn ACL:


  1. Popping Sensations or Sounds


The famous “pop” is the most telling sign that you have an ACL injury, although you may have a tear without the popping. Most often, it is accompanied by notable pain. You may also experience having a wobbly knee, which makes it more challenging to walk.


  1. Swelling and Internal Bleeding


The pain in the knee may go away faster, but the knee may be left with some swelling. Usually, the swelling in the knee is a result of internal bleeding. Blood can be an irritating substance if it is free in the tissues. The blood in the knee creates its own irritation and pain. You may also notice skin discoloration when there’s internal bleeding.


  1. Unstable Knee


ACL provides stabilisation to your knee to begin with. If you injure your ACL, your knee can weaken and become wobbly, which causes it to give out. This instability to your knee increases your risk of falling. Instability occurs when you try to change the direction of your knee. Your knee may feel like it wants to slip backwards.


  1. Loss of Proprioception


Proprioception is the body’s ability to balance and sense its position in space. When it comes to your knee, the joint position allows you to determine if your knee is straight or bent, even with your eyes closed. Proprioception is critical in the days before surgery, and afterwards when you’re starting to walk without the assistance of crutches.

If you have difficulty walking, proprioception allows your muscle to correct it, especially when you’re walking on an uneven surface, or if you’re about to slip. Proprioception is important if your knee is susceptible to further injury.


What to Do


Do not wait for your knee to get injured further if you have these signs. The sooner you see your physiotherapist, the higher chances of full recovery you’ll get.


Treatment may depend on how severe your ACL injury is. Mostly, your physiotherapist will advise you to avoid strenuous activities that are harmful to your knee. You may also be recommended with rehabilitation exercises to restore strength and stability.


Our Perth physiotherapists deliver world-class training programs that can effectively address and reduce the risk of ACL injuries.


If you have knee problems from ACL injury, our physio’s can help. Call us today on 9444 8729.